The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 20, No. 558, July 21, 1832 online

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_Dov._ Ray tells a humourous story, that, after the patiently exploring
commissioners, at the end of their long examinations, deliberately
confessed their utter ignorance to account for the Goodwin Sands, an old
man gravely asserted Tenterden steeple to be the cause.

_Von Os._ Tenterden steeple!

_Dov._ Ay; Tenterden steeple: for that those sands first appeared the
year it was erected.

_Von Os._ And the slightest interview with the mass of mankind, any
hour, will prove the race of Tenterden philosophers to be far from

_Dov._ Particularly with regard to facts relative to natural history:
and this is the more lamentable, and perhaps the more surprising, when
we consider its unlimited adaptability to all capacities, ages, sexes,
and ranks; and, moreover, the absolute necessity of many parts of it to
their intellectual existence.

_Von Os._ There is in our village, a slater, very fond of keeping bees.
These useful insects, he says, at breeding-time sweat prodigiously; and
each lays four eggs at the bottom of each cell: soon after which, he has
observed the combs to become full of maggots, which must be carefully
destroyed by smoke! When any one of his numerous family is buried, as
the corpse passes out of the house, he carefully loosens every hive, and
lifts it up; otherwise, he says, the bees would all die!

_Dov._ The superstitions about bees are numberless.

_Von Os._ And yet this poor fellow believes himself inspired with "grace
abounding;" and readily undertakes to "_spound_," as he calls it, any
verse read to him, however remotely insulated from the context.

_Dov._ But what would you think of a gentleman I have the pleasure of
visiting in the higher ranks, and whose conversation is really a
happiness to me, who talks of little young bees? - and really believes
that they grow! He smiled at me compassionately when I told him that
insects never grew when in the perfect state; but, like Minerva from the
brain of Jove, issue full-armed with sharpest weapons, and corslets of
burnished green, purple, and gold, in panoply complete: yet is this
gentleman a man of genius, wit, and very extensive knowledge.

_Von Os._ Not in bees.

_Dov._ He was not aware of the numerous species of British bees; and
that several, of a small intrepid sort, will enter the hives, and prey
on the treasures of their more industrious congeners.

_Von Os._ Reasoning from analogy does not do in natural history.

_Dov._ No; for who, without observation, or the information of others,
ever by analogical reasoning could reconcile the enormous difference of
size and colour, in the sexes of some of the humble bees? - or ever
discover that in some species there are even females of two sizes?

_Von Os._ But these never grow.

_Dov._ Certainly not. Bees, however, hatched in very old cells, will be
somewhat smaller: as each maggot leaves a skin behind which, though
thinner than the finest silk, layer after layer, contracts the cells,
and somewhat compresses the future bee.

_Von Os._ No ignorance is so contemptible as that of what is hourly
before our eyes. I do not so much wonder at the fellow who inquired if
America was a very large town, as at him who, finding the froth of the
Cicada spumaria L. on almost every blade in his garden, wondered where
were all the cuckoos that produced it.

_Dov._ They call it cuckoo-spit, from its plentiful appearance about the
arrival of that bird.

_Von Os._ That is reasoning from analogy.

_Dov._ And yet I see not why the bird should be given to spitting;
unless, indeed, he came from America.

_Von Os._ The vulgar, too, not only delight in wonders inexplicable, but
have a rabid propensity to pry into futurity.

_Dov._ I believe that propensity is far from being confined to the

_Von Os._ True; but not in so ridiculous a way: as they prophesy the
future price of wheat from the number of lenticular knobs (containing
the sporules) in the bottom of a cup of the fungus Nidularia.

_Dov._ The weather may be foretold with considerable certainty, for a
short time, from many hygrometric plants, and the atmospheric influence
on animals.

_Von Os._ And from _Cloudology_, by the changing of primary clouds into
compound; and these resolving themselves into nimbi, for rain; or
gathering into cumuli, for fair weather. This is like to become a very
useful and pleasing science.

_Dov._ It is wonders of this kind, and forewarnings of this nature, that
natural history offers to the contemplative mind: in the place of
superstitious follies, and unavailing predictions, such as the
foretelling of luck from the number or chattering of magpies; and the
wonder how red clover changes itself into grass, as many a farmer at
this moment believes.

_Von Os._ Linnaeus himself was a bit of a prophet; as, indeed, thus well
he might; for experience and observation amount almost to the power of
vatacination. In his _Academic Aménities_ he says, "Deus, O.M. et Natura
nihil frustra creaverit. Posteros tamen tot inventuros fore utilitates
ex muscis arguor, quot ex reliquis vegetabilibus."

_Dov._ English it, Von Osdat; thou'rt a scholar.

_Von Os._ "God and Nature have made nothing in vain. Posterity may
discover as much in mosses, as of utility in other herbs."

_Dov._ And, truly, so they may: one lichen is already used as a blessed
medicine in asthma; and another to thicken milk, as a nutritive posset.
And who, enjoying the rich productions of our present state of
horticulture, can recur without wonder to the tables of our ancestors?
They knew absolutely nothing of vegetables in a culinary sense; and as
for their application in medicine, they had no power unless gathered
under planetary influence, "sliver'd in the moon's eclipse."

_Von Os._ When Mercury was culminating, or Mars and Venus had got into
the ninth house.

_Dov._ 'Tis curious to reflect, that at the vast baronial feasts, in the
days of the Plantagenets and Tudors, where we read of such onslaught of
beeves, muttons, hogs, fowl and fish, the courtly knights and beauteous
dames had no other vegetable save bread - not even a potato!

_Von Os._

"They carved at the meal with their gloves of steel,
And drank the red wine through the helmet barr'd."

_Dov._ And when the cloth was drawn -

_Von Os._ Cloth! -

_Dov._ They had scarce an apple to give zest to their wine.

_Von Os._ We read of roasted crabs; and mayhap they had baked acorns and

_Dov._ Ha! ha! ha! - Caliban's dainties. Now we have wholesome vegetables
almost for nothing, and pine-apples for a trifle. Thanks to Mr.
Knight - push the bottle - here's to his health in a bumper.

_Von Os._ Who, walking on Chester walls in those days, and seeing the
Brassica oleracea, where it grows in abundance, would have supposed that
from it would spring cabbages as big as drums, and cauliflowers as
florid as a bishop's wig?

_Dov._ Or cautiously _chaumbering_ an acrid sloe, imagine it to be the
parent of a green gage?

_Von Os._ This is the Education of Vegetables.

_Dov._ The March of Increment!

* * * * *


This tree is now in bloom. It is a native of North America, where it is
vulgarly called the poplar. The first which produced blossoms in this
country, is said to have been at the Earl of Peterborough's, at Parson's
Green, near Fulham. In 1688 this tree was cultivated by Bishop Compton
at Fulham, who introduced a great number of new plants from North
America. At Waltham Abbey, is a tulip tree, supposed to be the largest
in England. The leaves of the tulip tree are very curious, and appear as
if cut off with scissors. The flowers, though not glaring, are
singularly beautiful, resembling a small tulip, variegated with green,
yellow and orange, standing solitary at the ends of the branches. I saw
one of these curious trees in full bloom a few days since between
Edmonton and Enfield.


* * * * *


The sap is changed into a viscid fluid, which circulates under the bark:
this is called _cambium_. When it is too abundant it is effused, part of
its water evaporates, and it becomes gum. If the vital circle is not
interrupted, the fluid traverses the branches, and the peduncle arrives
in the ovary, and constitutes the pericarp. In this passage it is partly
modified: it appropriates to itself the oxygen of its water of
composition; hence the malic, citric, and tartaric acids. As the fruit
becomes developed, the pellicle thins, becomes transparent, and allows
both light and heat to exercise a more marked influence. It is during
this period that maturation commences. The acids react on the cambium,
which flows into the fruit, and, aided by the increased temperature,
convert it into saccharine matter; at the same time they disappear,
being saturated with gelatine, when maturation is complete. - _London
Medical and Surgical Journal_.

We may here observe that in a recent paper, by Mr. J. Williams, in the
Transactions of the Horticultural Society, the cause of apples becoming
_russet_ is attributed to the alternating temperature, light, shade,
dryness, and moisture, which occur many times in the course of a day,
when July or August is showery. Continued rain, preceded and followed by
a cloudy sky, does not seem to produce the same effect, but the sudden,
intense light which commonly succeeds a shower at the time the fruit is
wet, injures the skin, and occasions small cracks, like the network upon
a melon.

* * * * *


Whatever theory of instinct may be finally fixed upon as the most
correct and philosophical, (to account for the migratory movements of
birds,) it is obvious that we cut rather than untie the gordian knot
when we talk of the foresight of the brute creation. We might as well
talk of the foresight of a barometer. There can be little doubt that
birds, prior to their migratory movements, are influenced by
atmospherical changes, or other physical causes, which, however beyond
the sphere of our perceptions, are sufficient for their guidance. That
they are not possessed of the power of divination may be exemplified by
the following instance. The winter of 1822 was so remarkably mild
throughout Europe, that primroses came generally into flower by the end
of December, - rye was in ear by the middle of March, and vines, in
sheltered situations, blossomed about the end of that month, - so that an
assured and unchecked spring was established at least four or five weeks
earlier than usual; - yet neither the cuckoo nor the swallow arrived a
single day before their accustomed periods. They are indeed, beautifully
and wisely directed, - "Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her
appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe
the time of their coming." - (From a delightful paper upon American
Ornithology, in the _Quarterly Review_, just published.)

* * * * *


* * * * *


[Illustration: Statue of Mr. Pitt.]

This splendid tribute to the memory of the darling minister, has been
placed at the south side of Hanover Square. It is of bronze, and stands
on a granite pedestal, of size disproportionate to the height and bulk
of the figure. The artist is Mr. Chantrey: the work being at the cost of
the nobility of the land, and a few ardent admirers of "the system"
introduced by Mr. Pitt into the government of this country. We have long
had festal celebrations and joyous commemorations of the natal day and
deeds of the minister - "the darling of fame" - but the above is the most
lasting memorial. Its bronze will in all probability outlast the mettle
of party. The resemblance is considered striking, and the effect of the
statue is bold and dignified. Biographers tell us that "in person, Pitt
was tall, slender, well-proportioned, and active. He had blue eyes,
rather a fair complexion, prominent features, and a high, capacious
forehead. His aspect was severe and forbidding; his voice clear and
powerful; his action dignified, but neither graceful nor engaging; his
tone and manners, although urbane and complacent in society, were lofty,
and even arrogant, in the senate. On entering the house, it was his
custom to stalk sternly to his place, without honouring even his most
favoured adherents with a word, a nod, or even a glance of recognition."

* * * * *


Has reopened with two new views - Paris from Montmartre, (by no means a
new, but, perhaps, the best, point of view of the city,) - and the famed
Campo Santo of Pisa. The execution of both scenes is calculated to
maintain the _unique_ reputation of the establishment. They have the
fine effects, the finishing touches, of master-hands.

* * * * *


* * * * *


(With those of some of the Regicides have been prepared for the 31st
volume of the _Family Library_. We suspect the editor to be M.
D'Israeli, who has been poring over the records and fingering the dust
of the Royal "martyr" for many years past. Our honourable friend,
Clavering, of the _Metropolitan_, in his recollections of the British
Museum, long since, says, "there sat D'Israeli, daily extracting from
the voluminous M.S. letters of James I. and Charles I." Whoever the
compiler of this volume may be, it must be allowed that, in the form of
notes and biographies, he has brought into less than 350 pages a greater
collection of interesting incidents connected with his main subject than
many writers would have cared to assemble; and he has accordingly
produced a work, in every respect, fitted for popular reading. We quote
passages from the Execution to the Interment of Charles, but we have not
room for the Editor's very pertinent "Remarks on the Trial.")

On the morning of his death, Charles, according to the relation of his
faithful attendant, Sir Thos. Herbert, awoke about two hours before
daybreak, after a sound sleep of four hours. He called to Herbert, who
lay on a pallet, by his bedside, and bade him rise; "for," said the
King, "I will get up, I have a great work to do this day." He then gave
orders what clothes he would wear, and said to his attendant, "Let me
have a shirt on more than ordinary, by reason the season is so sharp[4]
as probably may make me shake, which some observers will imagine
proceeds from fear. I would have no such imputation. I fear not
death - death is not terrible to me. I bless God, I am prepared." Soon
after the King was dressed, Bishop Juxon came to him, according to his
appointment the night before. He remained an hour in private with him,
when Herbert was called in, and the Bishop prayed with the King, using
the prayers of the church, and then read the 27th chapter of St.
Matthew, which so beautifully describes the passion of our Saviour. The
King thanked the Bishop for his choice of the lesson; but he was
surprised and gratified to learn that it was the lesson for the day
according to the calendar.

[4] The day was so piercing that the king, at the persuasion of
Bishop Juxon, wore a cloak till the moment of his death.

About ten o'clock Colonel Hacker knocked at the King's chamber door,
and, being admitted by Herbert, came in trembling, and announced to the
King that it was time to go to Whitehall, where he might have further
time to rest; and soon afterwards the King, taking the Bishop by the
hand proposed to go. Charles then walked out through the garden of the
palace into the Park, where several companies of foot waited as his
guard; and, attended by the Bishop on one side, and Colonel Tomlinson on
the other, both bare-headed, he walked fast down the Park, sometimes
cheerfully calling on the guard to "march apace." As he went along, he
said, "he now went to strive for an heavenly crown, with less solicitude
than he had often encouraged his soldiers to fight for an earthly

At the end of the Park, the King[5] went up the stairs leading to the
long gallery, and so into the Cabinet Chamber of the Palace of
Whitehall. Being delayed here in consequence of the scaffold not being
ready, he offered up several prayers, and entered into religious
discourse with the Bishop. About twelve he ate some bread, and drank a
glass of claret, declining to dine after he had received the sacrament.

[5] The late Sir Henry Englefield related a traditional
anecdote, that Charles, in passing through the Park, pointed out
a tree near the entrance from Spring Gardens (where the cows at
present stand,) saying, "That tree was planted by brother

When Charles arrived at Whitehall, the Colonels Hacker, Huncks, and
Phayer produced to Tomlinson the warrant for his execution; and in the
Horn Chamber the King was delivered by Tomlinson into the custody of
those officers; Charles requested Tomlinson, however, to remain with him
to the last, and acknowledged his kind and respectful conduct by
presenting to him a gold toothpicker and case which he carried in his
pocket. Tomlinson also introduced to him Mr. Seymour, who brought a
letter from the Prince to his father, with whom the King conversed, and
charged him with various messages for the Prince.

In the mean time a different scene was passing in Ireton's chamber, a
small room in another part of the palace. Ireton and Harrison were here
in bed; and Cromwell, Axtell, Huncks, Hacker, and Phayer were present.
Cromwell commanded Huncks to draw up an order to the executioner
pursuant to the warrant for the King's execution. Huncks refused;
whereupon Cromwell was highly incensed, and called him a peevish,
froward fellow; and Axtell exclaimed, "Colonel Huncks, I am ashamed of
you: - the ship is now coming into the harbour, and will you strike sail
before we come to anchor?" Cromwell then went to a table, and, as it
would appear, wrote the order to the executioner, and then gave the pen
to Hacker, who, as one of the officers charged with the execution of the
warrant, signed it.[6] Cromwell, and the rest of the officers, then went
out of the chamber, and, in a few minutes, Hacker came and knocked at
the door of the chamber where the King was, with Tomlinson, the Bishop,
Herbert, and some of his guards. Herbert and the Bishop were deeply
affected at this signal for their final separation from their sovereign
and master. The King stretched out his hand to them, which they kissed,
falling on their knees and weeping, the King helping the aged bishop to
rise. He then bade Hacker to open the door and he would follow; and he
was conducted by Hacker, Tomlinson, and other officers and soldiers,
through the banquetting house by a passage broken through the wall,
where the centre window now is. The street now called Parliament Street
was at that time crossed by two ranges of buildings belonging to the
palace of Whitehall, with wide arched gateways crossing the street, and
forming the public thoroughfare. One gateway was opposite to Privy
Gardens; and there was a way over it from these gardens belonging to the
palace, to pass into St. James's Park. The other building traversing the
street was the sumptuous gallery of Whitehall, built by Henry VIII., the
scene of so many adventures and events of various descriptions in the
reigns of Elizabeth, James, and the two Charles's. Connected with this
gallery was "a beautiful gatehouse," over a noble archway. Lord
Leicester says, in his Journal (p. 60.), - "The scaffold was erected
between Whitehall gate and the gallery leading to St. James's." Lilly
asserts, that it was just at the spot where the blood of a citizen had
been shed at the commencement of the rebellion, when a mob were
vociferating "_No Bishop_" under the windows of the palace, and some
cavaliers sallied out to disperse them, and one was killed. A strong
guard of several regiments of horse and foot being posted about the
scaffold, so that the people could not approach near enough to hear any
discourse from the King, he addressed his last sentences chiefly to the
Bishop, Colonel Tomlinson, and the other officers who stood near him.

[6] See the evidence on the trials of Hacker, Axtell, and Hulet,
State Trials, vol. v.

"_The Bishop._ Though your Majesty's affections may be very well known
as to religion; yet it may be expected that you should say something
thereof for the world's satisfaction."

"_The King._ I thank you heartily, my Lord, for that I had almost
forgotten it. In troth, Sirs, my conscience in religion, I think, is
very well known to all the world; and therefore I declare before you all
that I die a Christian, according to the profession of the Church of
England, as I found it left me by my father; and this honest man, I
think, will witness it."

Then to Colonel Hacker he said, "Take care that they do not put me to
pain: and, Sir, this and it please you - "

But a gentleman coming near the axe, the King said, "Take heed of the
axe, pray take heed of the axe."

Then speaking unto the executioner, he said, "I shall say but very short
prayers, and when I thrust out my hands - "

Then turning to the Bishop, he said, "I have a good cause, and a
gracious God on my side."

"_The Bishop._ There is but one stage more, this stage is turbulent and
troublesome, it is a short one; but you may consider it will soon carry
you a very great way, it will carry you from earth to heaven; and there
you will find a great deal of cordial joy and comfort."

"_The King._ I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown, where no
disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world."

"_The Bishop._ You are exchanged from a temporary to an eternal crown; a
good exchange."

Then the King said to the executioner, "Is my hair well?" and took off
his cloak and his George, giving his George to the Bishop, saying,
"Remember." Then he put off his doublet, and being in his waistcoat, he
put on his cloak again; then looking upon the block, he said to the
executioner, "You must set it fast."

"_Executioner._ It is fast, Sir."

"_The King._ When I put out my hands this way (stretching them out),
then - " After that, having said two or three words to himself, as he
stood with his hands and eyes lift up, immediately stooping down, he
laid his neck upon the block.[7] And then the executioner again putting
his hair under his cap, the King, thinking he was going to strike, said,
"Stay for the sign."

[7] It being doubted whether the king would submit to the
executioner, staples were driven into the block, and hooks
prepared, in order, if necessary, to confine his head forcibly
to the block. On the trial of Hugh Peters in 1660, it was sworn
that this was done by his orders given on the scaffold to one
Tench, a joiner; in Houndsditch. See State Trials, vol. v.

"_Executioner._ Yes, I will, and please your Majesty." - After a little
pause, the King stretching forth his hands, the executioner at one blow
severed his head from his body, and held it up and showed it to the
people, saying, "Behold the head of a traitor!" At the instant when the
blow was given, a dismal universal groan was uttered by the people (as
if by one consent) such as was never before heard; and as soon as the
execution was over, one troop of horse marched rapidly from Charing
Cross to King Street, and another from King Street to Charing Cross, to
disperse and scatter the multitude.

Though Joyce and Hugh Peters have been suspected of inflicting the
murderous blow on Charles, and though another claimant for this infamous
distinction is put forward in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1767, there
seems little doubt that Richard Brandon, the common hangman, assisted by
his man, Ralph Jones, a ragman in Rosemary Lane, in fact perpetrated the
deed. Among the tracts relative to the Civil War presented to the
British Museum by George III., in 1762, are three on this subject, which
are fully noticed in a note to Mr. Ellis's Letters on English History,
vol. iii. (second series.) It appears, by the register of Whitechapel
Church, that Richard Brandon was buried there on the 24th of June, 1649;
and a marginal note (not in the hand of the Registrar, but bearing the
mark of antiquity), states, "This R. Brandon is supposed to have cut off
the head of Charles I." - One of the tracts, entitled "The Confession of
Richard Brandon, the Hangman, upon his Death-bed, concerning the
Beheading of his late Majesty," printed in 1649, states, "During the

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Online LibraryVariousThe Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 20, No. 558, July 21, 1832 → online text (page 2 of 4)